The Dell XPS 13 always was a well-rounded Ultrabook but the 2015 versions with Broadwell are looking like no-brainers for people needing a highly mobile laptop. The entry-level price of $799 for a non-touch 1920×1080, a weight of 1.17 Kg (2.6 pounds) and a 54Wh put this at the top of a lot of lists. It looks fantastic too! Ultabookreview have just completed a full review of the new Dell XPS 13 and after reading the review you’ll probably have it on your wish list.
Back-lit keyboard? Check! AC Wifi? Check! Touchscreen option? Check!
Ultrabookreview have the Dell XPS 13 9343 Signature Edition (Microsoft no-crapware version) with full-HD matte display and a Core i5 CPU with 4GB of RAM and 128GB of SSD which performed very well under the tests.
Battery life is superb thanks to the 52Wh battery and, unlike Core-M based laptops it looks like entry-level desktop gaming is possible. Check out the review for performance figures for Dirt 3, Grid 2, Tomb Raider, NFS Most Wanted and Bioshock Infinite.
There’s good news on fan noise as it remains silent until put under load and there’s more good news from the keyboard and touchpad testing. It looks like Dell have everything right. Almost…
Screen brightness was raised as an issue and I’ve spoken to Andrei, the reviewer, about this. It’s possible that he’s got a faulty unit as other reviewers are reporting good screen brightness. We’ll have to keep an eye on this as other reviews come in.
There’s some heat under load and a slow-charging issue to take note of too.
At under 1.2KG with 5-10 hours of true battery and this much processing power, for $899, it’s difficult to see anything coming close to the new Dell XPS 13 during the Broadwell lifespan, which could take us through most of 2015. If you’re getting close to choosing a new mobile laptop, read the review and bookmark our information page.
The lab-rats at Notebookcheck have just published their full review of the Dell Latitude 7350. This 1.6KG 13-inch device isn’t ultra-mobile but we’ve put it our database as we’re implementing a strict 1.3KG minimum operating weight limit. This is a 2-in-1 detachable with a 13-inch fanless tablet that weighs just 860 grams. There’s also something important inside that we need to know about – the Core M 5Y10. It’s also a 2-in-1 which means you can use the tablet on its own. It weighs 860 grams (1.9 pounds) which is OK for a 13.3-inch Core-based fanless tablet.
Dell Latitude 13 7350. Core M 2-in-1
The Dell Latitude 7350 is business-focused and priced at well over $1000 with entry-level specifications. There’s a split battery (30Wh in tablet, optional 20Wh in dock) and a large number of features and options including ExpressCharge, LTE, VPro and the like. Dell calls it an Ultrabook but with Core M inside, we’re not. Here’s why.
Core M, at best, when the gods of heat and cooling are on your side, performs as well as a Haswell-generation (2014) Core i5 but there’s a huge range of throttling that can kick-in when things warm up. A theoretical maximum clockrate of 2.0Ghz is impressive but the base clock is just 800Mhz.
Notebookcheck, a site I do reviews for, has a strict process when it comes to reviews so when I see their performance test results I take note. They’ve just published the full review for the Dell Latitude 7350 (Core M 5y10, 4GB RAM) and the limits of Core M are clear to see.
The Cinebench Single-Thread tests show that the CPU can maintain a clock of 2 GHz while the Multi-Thread tests are executed with 1.3 up to 1.4 GHz. This behavior is identical for mains as well as battery power. According to the benchmark results, the single-thread performance is between the ULV Core i3 and ULV Core i5 processors of the Haswell generation, but the Core M is beaten by Core i3 processors in multi-thread applications because it cannot utilize its maximum performance.
Have a look at the Sunspider, Cinebench and Peacekeeper scores on the Notebookcheck review and you’ll see sub-Ultrabook performance, at least where 2014 Ultrabooks are concerned. What the Dell Latitude 7350 does bring is 2012-era Ultrabook performance in a fanless design and that’s worth thinking about when it comes to tablets.
In terms of battery life the Dell Latitude XPS 13 does quite well on the 50Wh battery configuration when compared to Haswell-based devices but again note that under load, the Core M CPU won’t be getting as much done as a Core i5 Haswell-generation. The web-browsing performance is a good comparison to use though and here we see the 50Wh battery giving 522 minutes of battery life. Again, web page loads may not be as fast as on a Core i5 but the small delay is probably not going to concern most users. The average power usage in the web browsing scenario is 5.7W which is slightly higher than I’ve seen on 10 and 11.6-inch Core-based laptops. Again the screen backlight takes more power for the same brightness on a larger screen compared to a smaller screen.
Core M 2-in-1 line up for Q4 215. (Click for more details.)
So what can we learn from this Core M product test? Firstly we have to bear in mind that this is a single reference point form a single device. Core M performance relies heavily on good thermal design and benchmarks will vary a lot across different testing scenarios. Even a few degrees increase in ambient temperature will affect results. Benchmarks themselves can heat up a device such that the following benchmark can be negatively affected and you can see that in the sequence of Cinebench tests done on the ASUS UX305 by Ultrabookreview. In that review the Cinebench result varies from 140 down to 107 points. In the Notebookcheck review of the Dell Latitude 7350 the CPU score is 139 points. In a full review of the HP Envy X2 15 c000ng, another fanless Core M 5Y10 device, the max Cinebench R15 score is 167 points. Incidentally the Core M 5Y70 (1.1Ghz base clock) as seen in the Lenovo Yoga 3 Pro (which has a fan) is reaching over 170 points on this CPU-only test.
Core M is difficult to test but I believe that the results you see here are representative of a fanless Core M device and although performance isn’t as good as an Ultrabook, Core M is allowing lightweight fanless PCs in the 1KG-class with performance that we’ve never seen before. This brings ‘enough for everything’ and with the Lenovo Yoga 11, Acer Switch 12 and ASUS Transformer Book T300 Chi coming with Core M at the $700 price point there’s value in the equation too.
I was asked for my opinion on the price of the Dell Venue 8 7000 just after it was announced and all I could think of was the nice looking Lenovo Tab S8 which is very similar, for about $199. After handling the Dell Venue 8 7000 I now see a product worth much more than that. The amazing OLED 2K screen is punchy and sharp. The 6mm thin design is light and stylish and the 3 additional Realsense snapshot cameras offer some interesting options for photographers. In this video you’ll see some of those features being demonstrated.
After talking to a number of people about the Dell Venue 8 700 I know know the following.
It will be available in November.
There will be an LTE version. (Intel 7260)
It runs on Merrifield (Intel |Z35xx-series)
The screen is 2K resolution OLED
The base configuration will be 2GB RAM and 16GB storage
An SDK will be released but it’s looking like early 2015 before developers can create apps
Youll find out more in the video after the images…
Michael Dell and Krzanich previewed an upcoming Dell tablet with first-of-its-kind photo capabilities. The new Dell Venue 8 7000 Series with Intel® RealSense™ snapshot is the world’s thinnest tablet and will be available in time for the holiday season. Intel RealSense snapshot is an enhanced photography solution that creates a high-definition depth map to enable measurement, refocus and selective filters with a touch of a finger. It will introduce new capabilities and new ways of using the tablet, opening up a new creative horizon for developers to come up with apps that change how consumers engage with their photos.
Updating from the keynote, live.
This 8-inch Android tablet will come with Realsense and a context sensing SDK from Intel which includes cloud-based context services.
Prototype shown on stage (see below for live images)
2K resolution screen (Ultra HD(
Edge to Edge screen.
Early November availability
Price was not given.
Given the dimensions this has to be a Baytrail–based tablet. Update: Moorefield platform is being used here.
During Intel CEO Brain Krzanich’s keynote today at the Intel Developer Forum, Michael Dell, chairman and CEO of Dell, previewed the upcoming Dell Venue 8 7000 Series – the first tablet with Intel® RealSense™ snapshot and the world’s thinnest tablet, measuring only 6mm in thickness. Intel RealSense snapshot is an enhanced photography solution that creates a high-definition depth map to enable measurement, refocus, and selective filters with a touch of a finger. It will introduce new capabilities and new ways of using the tablet, opening up a new creative horizon for developers to come up with apps that change how consumers engage with their photos. For example, consumer can change the focus of a photo to different objects or foregrounds in editing. Objects within the photo can also be measured. The Android-based tablet is powered by the Intel® Atom™ Z3500 processor series and will be available in time for holiday.
We’re at IDF14 and will try to bring you more details as soon as possible.
Is everyone jumping on the Lenovo Yoga bandwagon now? Dell has just announced the Dell Inspiron 11 3000 and the Dell Inspiron 13 7000. One comes with Atom and starts at $449 on June 19th. The other will be a larger Core-based unit that will be available later in the year.
This Laptop-first design has been appealing to many over the last few years and having reviewed three Yogas I can see why. It’s not the tablet mode that’s important, it’s the flexibility. Lie-flat screen and display modes are the two likely to be used most after the laptop mode but yes, if you want to have a brief flirt with a heavy tablet, go ahead. Choice is the key here.
43 Whr battery (Dell quote over 8hrs Mobile Mark on a Celeron dual-core version.)
SD card slot, 3 x USB, HDMI.
Parallels will be drawn with the Lenovo Miix 2 11 which is already out there with similar specifications so we can see why Dell are offering 20GB of Dropbox and facial recognition software included in the package
It’s that spinning hard drive in an ultra-mobile configuration again. Fingers crossed for an easy upgrade path because the rest of the specs and the design look great.
Dell Inspiron 13 7000
The information on the Dell Inspiron 13 7000 is a little thinner but it’s a September product so that could be the reason why. Dell aren’t waiting for Broadwell though because a 4th-gen Intel Core processor will be found inside. It’s another indicator that Broadwell-based Ultrabooks and tablets won’t be around until 2015. The sreen is a FullHD resolution and there’s information from reporters out in Taiwan that there will be a built-in stylus. Is that it behind the SD card slot? If so we have a Thinkpad Yoga competitor on our hands.
Port layout looks the same as on the Inspiron 11 with three USB, HDMI and SD slots. Some reports are talking about options on the screen and keyboard backlight so we’ll have to wait until after summer before we’re sure about what we’re getting. Pencil-in IFA 2014 for the launch event!
In our last review we looked at an 8-inch tablet running on the Atom Z3740 costing under $300. In this review we have the Dell Venue 11 Pro 10.8 inch tablet running the current high-end Z3770 CPU and costing $499. The powered keyboard is an additional accessory at $159. The two units are extremely well built but are they worth it? We take a look in our detailed Dell Venue 11 Pro review.
For cheap, off-the-grid entertainment, OTA digital TV is the only way to get live information onto a tablet. I took a DVB-T receiver from Terratec, installed the driver and the TV software along with a codec pack on a Dell Venue 8 Pro and it’s working very well. According to tests, one charge should run for the full length of a footballl game, including extra time and penalties. It’s perfect for the up-coming World Cup!
I’m using the DVB-T standard Terratec Cinergy DT USB XS which is a USB-connected receiver and from the image above you can see it has two antennas. It’s connected via a USB adaptor so you’ll need to make sure you‘ve got one of those. (MicroUSB to USB female connector.) As I’m testing approximately 500 meters from the local DVB-T transmitter I can operate it with no antennas attached, indoors but most people are going to need some sort of antenna. The cheaper USB sticks only have one antenna and may not be good for the edges of reception areas so you’ll need to be aware of that but there are a few with integrated antennas which would be practical if you’re in a good reception area.
The receiver doesn’t auto-install on Windows 8 so I downloaded the latest drivers and the Terratec DVB Viewer software. Unfortunately there’s a third step due to lack of MPEG-2 support in Windows 8.
The problem and solution for MPEG-2 on Windows 8
Windows 8 doesn’t include the required MPEG-2 codecs like Windows 7 did so you’ll need to install a codec pack which is always a bit risky but I’ve found what appears to be an ‘honest’ and simple codec pack with easy installation and setup in the Shark007 basic codec pack. Install the standard 32-bit codec pack and remember to ‘skip’ the freeware offers. For configuration choose the Shark007 SUGGESTED settings. If you’re running a 64-bit system you’ll probably need the 64-bit extensions but I haven’t tested that.
The Terratec viewer software is for desktop only and isn’t very finger friendly but scanning of the local frequencies here was straightforward and resulted in 34 channels being found. Unfortunately this receiver won’t pick up DAB (radio) or the new DVB-T2 standard but the quality is fine for this 8-inch tablet and casual usage.
Quality of the streams on DVB-T is ‘standard definition’ 528×576 25fps MPEG-2 at about 2.5Mbps with an MPEG2 audio channel. (DVB-T2 offers high-definition streams.)
Under normal viewing conditions on this Z3740D-based tablet the CPU is using 17%. In aircraft mode (no WiFi needed for this) and with full screen brightness I was seeing 5.6W of power usage which, on this 19Wh device is going to give you 3hrs 20 minutes of viewing time. Let’s say 3hrs to be safe.
The Terratec software I’m using here allows TV to be recorded to disk at a rate of about 20MB / min which means you’ll have no problem recording a few hours of something for later playback.
The Dell Venue 8 Pro is a great tablet PC for this TV activity due to its bright, high-contrast IPS screen and loud speaker. It’s mono, but it’s still the best speaker you can get on a low-cost 8-inch Windows tablets.
DVB-T and DVB-T2 won’t work for everyone but if you’re in a good reception area it’s a good, simple, off-the-grid solution for entertainment.
In 2008 we were measuring netbooks with a test called Crystalmark. It was a quick and simple test that allowed us to do compare across the devices we used it with. Two CPU tests, three GPU tests, a memory test and a disk test were all we needed to get a feel for the performance of a device. In late 2011 we got hands-on with a Core i5 Windows 7 tablet from Samsung and were impressed with the scores. The cost and weight were high and the battery life was low. Today we’re seeing Atom-based platforms beating that Core i5 from 2.5 years ago.
The Atom chip. Windows 8. For those seeking productivity and portability these technologies promised to fulfil that need but ultimately fell short. Intel’s Bay Trail CPU and Windows 8.1 are designed to finally meet those needs but do they really combine to produce the perfect storm for Windows tablets? The Dell Venue 8 Pro is the first of the new breed of Windows tablets out of the gate, does it have what it takes to satisfy the demanding needs of the professional on the go?
Details haven’t emerged yet, such as which specific version of Honeycomb will be used and whether or not it will be customized or left stock. Jenn says the the update is expected to greatly increase the battery life of the device.
This is great news for Streak 7 owners, but it only applies to the WiFi-only version of the device. Apparently T-Mobile’s 3G/4G variant, which StreakSmart points out was recently discontinued, may never receive the update.
An alternative option to acquire Honeycomb is a custom ROM which is an unofficial software release that can be installed to your device if you’ve got the skills necessary. Jenn has a link to that ROM on her original post, go check it out.
Are you a WiFi-only Streak 7 user who’s excited for the Honeycomb Upgrade? Or perhaps a T-Mobiler who’s angry that your device wont be updated? Let us know in our Streak 7 forum.
I love Android. Actually, on any given day of the week, I am probably in love with various mobileÂ Operating Systems. Every once in a while, I even do a desperate Google-Bing deep-dive in an attempt to find a viable WindowsCE device. On those different days, I am likely to be most in love with the mobile OS that is aggravating me the least. Due to this dynamic, it gets a little unfair for the most popular OS in my current kits, because it gets more chances to irritate me due to the increased exposure.
Android comes with a decent set of cons for every pro that it carries. I love the suppleness of the software design, which allows developers to bend it to their will and deploy many different flavors of operability. The Android Market features many different riffs on common themes for apps, which allows you to find one that is tailored to your particular tastes. I think this effect is less prevalent in the Apple App Store, where I feel like once one developer figures out the hook that gets everyone on-board with their app, then we just see derivations of that common design. As a consequence, I run significantly fewer apps on my iOS devices than I do on my Android devices.
However, Android could be perceived as suffering from more instability due to the very openness that makes it so powerful and attractive. Instability in core apps that any Android user would be dependent upon has occurred. Add the multiple sources of apps that so many of us access, vice the one-stop source that the vast majority of iOS, Windows Phone 7, and Blackberry OS users go to, and the risk of instability increases. Users and the media go on-and-on about how Flash gives Android an advantage over iOS, yet it is one of the first things I disable on any desktop OS or mobile device. Besides the security vulnerabilities, I absolutely despise the performance hit that occurs whenever I go to a site that automatically Â runs a heavy flash video that I have zero interest in seeing.
But then… maybe I am not the best Android user, because I am arguably a horrible system administrator. If things start to go bad, I do not have a lot of time to troubleshoot. My regular job, writing for the various tech sites, the dog, grad school…when something does not work, I am likely to just punt.
I have had to reset my Motorola Xoom to its factory defaults and start over for the first time this week, after about 3 months of use. Unfortunately, this is not the first Android device I have felt compelled to take this approach with. I have been using Android extensively for about 15 months. I have gone through about 7 devices so far. With each, there always seems to come the point where I install the one app too many. Or some setting that I configure injects a level of instability that just never recovers to an acceptable state, despite power cycling and soft resets. This happened numerous times on my Motorola Droid. I have felt compelled to wipe my Dell Streak 7 twice. I will admit that the original Archos 7 Home Tablet was a questionable product and perhaps I should not count its instability in my Android reset totals. Still, I had to perform a do-over several times in the brief time that I ran that device.
You may have been following my series on using the Acer Iconia A500 for business purposes. One thing that I am doing vastly different in that use-case is that I have installed a very specific set of apps, and I do not intend to add anymore. I also do not run any widgets on my homescreens, other than the Calendar Widget. It is vitaly important that I retain a robust level of stability on that device. When my business device goes down, I amÂ severelyÂ hamstrung. That need for stability is in fact one of the reasons I went with a new Android device for this go-round, rather than try and use one that I was already running. Which brings me to why I cannot solely blame Android for my problems.
The truth is, I knowÂ what I need to do to stop some of this instability. I know that I need to stop deploying widgets across every homescreen as soon as I set up a device (see Ben’s article from last year on his feelings on widget-oriented OS’). I know that I need to establish a set of baseline apps, install them, run that configuration for a few weeks, and then add apps a few at a time. But I cannot help myself. On Android, I exhibit the same app junkie behavior that I chastise so many iOS users for. In that vein, I am a digital hypocrite. And for that reason, I sometimes wind up paying the price in running my little Android farm.
The good news is that a wipe and reset of an Android device is not has destructive as, say, doing the same on a Windows desktop system. In fact, in certain ways it is even fun. And backing up and syncing your apps to your Google ID makes restoring any Android device a snap. So, while self-administering devices that have a skosh less stability than some others incurs an additionalÂ burden, it is not yet at the level that I am considering reducing my Android entrenchment. Maybe one day; but not today.
How about everyone else out there? Do you find the need to do a total restore on your devices toÂ reinvigorateÂ them, or have you been happy from day one?